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Publication Time Served in State Prison, 2016

Danielle Kaeble, BJS Statistician

November 29, 2018    NCJ 252205

Presents findings on the time served by prisoners released from state prison in 2016, including mean and median length of time served by most serious offense and the percentage of sentence served by offense before initial release from state prison. The report also includes data on deaths in prison in 2016.


  • Most violent offenders released from state prison in 2016 served less than 3 years.
  • The average time served by state prisoners released in 2016, from initial admission to initial release, was 2.6 years, and the median time served was 1.3 years.
  • Persons released from state prison in 2016 served an average of 46% of their maximum sentence length before their initial release.
  • State prisoners initially released in 2016 served an average of 62% of their sentence if they were serving time for rape or sexual assault, and 38% if serving time for drug possession.
  • Persons serving less than one year in state prison represented 40% of first releases in 2016.
  • Persons sentenced for murder or non-negligent manslaughter served an average of 15 years in state prison before their initial release.

Press Release (189K)
Full report (PDF 575K)
Data Tables (Zip format 7K)

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National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP)

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